Quick Post

I’m in two classes this semester, Information Security and Project Management. Both courses are going pretty well so far, but I must say I am definitely ready to finish up grad school this summer!

We had engagement pictures taken this weekend. If you really want to see them, find a way to contact me and I can show them to you when I get them. We also got to see the McCallum family and their newest addition.

A while back I debated on a focus for the bofe blog. I even created another blog where I put my virtualization related postings.

But I’m a technical person, so you’ll probably see some tech focused entries here and there. It’s not the end of the world; I’ll try and make them applicable to most readers.

Twitter n Junk

Yes, I use Twitter.

To get your questions out of the way:

Why? People I consider interesting use it

Do they care? They don’t necessarily consider me interesting

So no reciprocity? It isn’t Facebook; doesn’t matter

What do they post? Quality links, near real time news…

If I’m at the point where I’m pulling out my hair at work, I’ll post for help. It’s been helpful many times… much more helpful than IRC.

And that’s the kicker. Twitter is more helpful than IRC for quick problems or problems that have already been solved. I think it’s because of the character limit; you’re forced to word problems and solutions in a condensed way.

Restoring from your Windows 7 Backups

Restoring falls into one of two categories:

  1. File level
  2. Image level

File Level Restores

File level restores are for those times where you accidentally delete/change a file and you’ve found out you need a previous version. Don’t worry: Windows 7 and something called Volume Shadow Service (VSS) have your back.

How to use file level restores:

If the file still exists, right click on it and go to the “Previous Versions” tab. Here’s what the “Previous Versions” tab looks like on a write up I’m doing for school about BlueCross BlueShield and information security:

Select the file you want and copy, open, or restore. Copying is probably your best bet. Restoration will overwrite it. Opening the file just reads it from your backup.

Image Level Restores

There are a few good articles online on this topic. If your system is gone you’ll need your trusty backup, but you’ll also need a system repair disc.  Here are two great articles describing the process with pretty screenshots:

  1. Working with System Image Backups in Windows 7
  2. Restoring Windows 7 from a Backup System Image

Windows 7 Backup

“Cloud” backup sites like mozy and carbonite are untrusted & overpriced piles of crap. There are too many layers of complexity in the process and too many places for it to fail.

I can’t stress the importance of backups and TESTING your backups.

You’ve got a couple of options:

  1. Invest some time & money into backups
  2. Don’t back anything up
  3. Don’t put digitize anything that you really care about

Step 1: Install Windows 7, preferably a version with BitLocker capabilities.  (Professional, Enterprise, or Ultimate editions have BitLocker)

Step 2: Get another hard drive.

How big of a drive do you need? It depends. I’m using about 280 GB of space on my two drives, but my backup takes 130GB. I am sure this will grow over time. Most users will not need anything more than a 320GB Western Digital Passport. ($80 from Newegg.com)

There are other options that are much cheaper. One is setting up drive enclosures and using normal hard drives, another is using network attached storage. The setup is up to you, but it doesn’t get much simpler than plugging in a Western Digital Passport.

Step 3: Configure Windows Backup and Restore

  • Press the Windows key on your keyboard.
  • Type the word “Backup” into the search bar.
  • Select “Backup and Restore” and press enter
  • Back up your system image and important folders (like your “Libraries” folder, anything else you value)
  • Schedule the backup for a time that you are not at your computer, but you are sure it is turned on. The most common conflict is with a Windows Update configuration. If Windows Update is installing an update or rebooting your system, Windows Backup will not work. Use common sense here.
  • Watch the Action Center – it will inform you when your backups fail. If your backup fails, you can’t restore. That’s a bad thing.

Step 4 (optional): Encrypt your backups

If someone steals your drive your data can be accessed by the thief. Encryption in Windows 7 is simple. Go to My Computer and right click “Turn on BitLocker”. Pick a good key; keep it in yet another location that is protected in case you forget your key. Turning on BitLocker takes a long time (7.5 hours for me on a beast of a PC) so be patient.

After BitLocker is turned on, right click the drive again and select “Manage BitLocker”. You want to “turn on automatic unlocking on this for this drive on this computer”. This means you don’t have to re-enter your key.

What this plan doesn’t protect against: fires and other home-destroying events.  If your data is important enough to you, use this process manually to a drive that you want to place in a fire proof safe or a safe deposit box.

Next post: How to do a restore.

Oversubscribed

KC Lemson (The User Experience Manager for Microsoft Exchange) said this:

Frustrated since I only have room for 4 of these in my life: Work, Family, A Clean Home, Gaming, Sleep, Exercise.

My list is Work, Family, A Clean Apartment, School, Sleep, Exercise.

What’s your list?

My goal for the semester: do well in classes, but don’t be so competitive. Do well at work, but don’t work too hard. Overall, just try and do less.

I forgot to mention it on here, but I’m now serving as a Faculty Advisor for the fraternity I was  a part of during college.  The guys are great – and it keeps me a little in touch with something I miss very much: music.

Worst Part of the Winter

The worst part of the winter isn’t incessant Christmas music,

it isn’t the salt on the roads making cars filthy,

it isn’t the end of NFL football,

it isn’t even the horrendous cold.

It’s this: if I want to go out and have a drink (or associate with anyone who wants to have a drink) in this town, I have to shower before I go to bed. I also have to wash all of my clothes (including the winter gear) before the using it again.

Smokers: Please pick a more considerate hobby.

Phoenix Rising

The blog is back.

Things that have happened since I posted last:

  • I got engaged
  • I posted a 2009 Year In Review
  • I finished another semester of graduate school (4.0)

Other Blog Breaks: Feb2002-June2002, July2002-November2002, December2002-April2003.

The motivation to restart the blog was by a friend of mine, Tim.  I made a bet, he’s kept his end of the deal… so I have to keep my end of the deal.

Here comes the posts…